KyotoJapan

Image for Heian Shrine showing a temple or place of worship, religious aspects and heritage architecture

Visit Kyoto

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed wild monkeys and explore World Heritage-listed temples and shrines in this historically rich Japanese city.

Kyoto, on the Japanese island of Honshu, has been a hub of religious activity and political power since the eighth century. It was once the capital of Japan and retains many of the temples and palaces built within this period. Step back in time to imperial Japan as you explore the city’s many World Heritage Sites such as the Kiyomizu Temple. Kyoto is also renowned for its landscaped gardens, many of which are based on designs dating back hundreds of years.

The wealth of cultural history in Kyoto can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Take the Philosopher’s Walk to orient yourself around some of Kyoto’s historic sights, such as the Eikando Temple. The walk takes in three major temples as well as several smaller temples and shrines, boutique shopping areas and restaurants where you can sample the traditional Japanese multicourse dinner, kaiseki. Cherry blossoms line the walk during spring, and in the fall, the area comes alive with the brilliant reds of maple trees.

Central Kyoto offers a combination of modern and traditional delights. Ride up the Kyoto Tower for a 360-degree view over the city from 330 feet (100 meters) up. Explore the Nishiki Market, lined with restaurants, and fresh produce and street food stalls. See giant salamanders and local river fish at the Kyoto Aquarium.

At one of the regular festivals held in the city, taste some of the food brought to Kyoto from all over Japan to please the Emperor, watch traditional crafts being made, take a lesson in saké brewing and experience the culture of Japan.

Lovers of Japanese literature will enjoy the 17th-century Katsura Imperial Villa, built to resemble the fictional setting of the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Tourism is a large part of Kyoto’s economy and there are some unique attractions such as hand feeding wild snow monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park. Kyoto has a welcoming atmosphere, incredible natural beauty and layered history.

Kyoto Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Kyoto

Nijo Castle showing a park and a pond

Central Kyoto

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,806 area reviews)

Enjoy the popular shops in Central Kyoto. Nijō Castle is a worthwhile stop, and you can jump on the metro at Nijojo-mae Station or Karasumaoike Station to see more of Kyoto.

Central Kyoto
Gion which includes cycling, street scenes and night scenes

Gion

5/5Exceptional!(208 area reviews)

Experience a traditional tea ceremony or a night of cultural entertainment within the historic wooden teahouses of this well-preserved Kyoto district.

Gion
Kyōto featuring a garden, forest scenes and landscape views

Arashiyama

5/5Exceptional!(51 area reviews)

Arashiyama is noteworthy for its river views, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Museum and Bamboo Forest Street.

Arashiyama
Nishiki Market featuring markets and street scenes as well as a large group of people

Karasuma

Karasuma is highly notable for its popular shops, and you might want to visit top sights like Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi. See more of Kyoto by jumping on the metro at Shijo Station or Karasumaoike Station.

Karasuma
Kyoto International Manga Museum featuring a city

Karasumaoike

4.5/5Wonderful!(2 area reviews)

If you're spending time in Karasumaoike, you might enjoy attractions like Kyoto International Manga Museum and Rokakkudo Temple. You might also enjoy the neighborhood's picturesque gardens before hopping on the metro at Karasumaoike Station to see more of the city.

Karasumaoike
Kyōto which includes heritage architecture and a temple or place of worship

Nishijin

4.5/5Wonderful!(13 area reviews)

You might enjoy the coffeehouses while in Nishijin. Doshisha University is a notable sight, and you can get around town at Imadegawa Station or Kuramaguchi Station to see more of the city.

Nishijin

Top Hotels in Kyoto

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
4 out of 5
1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
¥7,982
per night
Feb 5 - Feb 6

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple ...

4.4/5Excellent! (3,600 reviews)

"This hotel was beautiful and had a great ambience. Our upgraded twin room was very clean and spacious. Thank you so much, Expedia! All the staff were super friendly. The pool was beautiful and had a lot of amenities. I really enjoyed every bits of our stay. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone ..."…"

Reviewed on Jan 8, 2020

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 
4 out of 5
44-1, Kamitonodacho, Higashikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
¥9,591
per night
Feb 9 - Feb 10

Located in Minami, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (417 reviews)

"Very clean and new. Everything was what you would expect from a top hotel."…"

Reviewed on Jan 17, 2020

Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto
4 out of 5
15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
¥9,545
per night
Jan 22 - Jan 23

Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower, and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (1,091 reviews)

"Highly recommended hotel with good hotel service. excellent location"…"

Reviewed on Jan 15, 2020

Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

Popular things to do in Kyoto

Kyoto Tower
Image for Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

4/5(447 reviews)

In a city known for its temples and other ancient relics, this observation point catches the eye as an example of 20th-century innovation.

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Image for Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

4.5/5(1,121 reviews)

This shrine at the base of Inari Mountain is dedicated to the goddess of rice and prosperity. See its thousands of red gates around a network of beautiful trails.

Kawaramachi
Image for Kawaramachi

Kawaramachi

4.5/5(114 reviews)

You can enjoy some retail therapy with a trip to Kawaramachi, a favorite shopping spot in Kyoto. Make time for the temples and local tours in this culturally-rich area.

Kiyomizu Temple
Image for Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple

4.5/5(728 reviews)

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nishiki Market
Image for Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

4.5/5(234 reviews)

Come to this market in the heart of the city to experience the authentic sights, smells and sounds of the bartering vendors and their traditional food.

Kyoto Imperial Palace
Image for Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace

4.5/5(555 reviews)

You can learn more about the history of Kyoto during your trip to a top site like Kyoto Imperial Palace. Discover the top-notch restaurants and fascinating museums in this culturally-rich area.

Top activities in Kyoto

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour
Image for Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

Kyoto Perfect Tour: 1day bus tour

¥14,000

Discover the 3 World Heritage listed sites (Kiyomizu temple, Tenrryuji temple and Kinkakuji Temple) in Kyoto. Besides, we will visit 2 popular spots: Fushimi Inari Shrine and bamboo forest in Sagano. Please be intoxicated magnificent Japanese historical places.

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe
Image for Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

Full-Day Bus Tour to Kyoto, Nara & Kobe

¥10,588

Take a journey through the wonders of ancient and modern Japan with a day trip that shows you the historic cities of Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. With destinations from the peaceful bamboo forest of Arashiyama to the lively Kobe Mosaic, you get a look at centuries' worth of culture.

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

Kyoto & Nara 1-Day Tour

¥15,600

Explore the must-see sights of history-rich Kyoto, including the spectacular Nijo Castle, eminent Kinkaku-ji, and grand Kyoto Imperial Palace. In the afternoon, embark for Nara, home of pacific Nara Park and the famous temple of Todai-ji.

Kyoto Full-Day Tour
Image for Kyoto Full-Day Tour

Kyoto Full-Day Tour

¥14,000

Spend a full day discovering the best sights Kyoto has to offer, including grand castles and sacred temples. These spectacular attractions make your time in Kyoto an unforgettable experience.

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience
Image for Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

Private Japanese Small Katana Forging Experience

¥18,000

Forge your very own Japanese kogatana (small blade) with an artisan swordsmith. Learn about the traditional blade-forging process, which uses the same materials and techniques as a full-size katana. At the end of the experience, take the beautiful product of your creation home with you.

Samurai Experience & Guided Tour of Samurai Ninja Museum
Image for Samurai Experience & Guided Tour of Samurai Ninja Museum

Samurai Experience & Guided Tour of Samurai Ninja Museum

¥2,449

• Samurai history tour in English at the Kyoto samurai and ninja museum • Samurai dress up • Ninja star throw experience • Ninja blowgun experience • Sword lesson ※You can see samurai show with this ticket.

Reviews of Kyoto

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1492
5 - Excellent 77.99268165185572%
4 - Good
385
4 - Good 20.125457396759018%
3 - Okay
30
3 - Okay 1.5682174594877156%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 0.20909566126502874%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.10454783063251437%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 12, 2020

Kyoto is very beautiful and Quite!!!! This town has so much history. Very different from Osaka and Tokyo of Course. If you want to experience Traditional Japan, imperial palaces, and Shrines, this is the place to come!!!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 11, 2020

We had a wonderful visit in Kyoto. I recommend staying at least 2 nights. Also, we had a tour guide for one full day. Our guide (Mana with Triple Lights) was amazing and ensured we were able to see everything we wanted to in a short amount of time.

5/5 - Excellent

Eva

Jan 8, 2020

Love the ambience. People were very nice. The city was packed with a lot of foreigners but they manage to treat them with “omotenashi” spirit. I wish we had more time!

5/5 - Excellent

Jbright

Jan 4, 2020

Very nice city to visit

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 4, 2020

A lot of great food and tourist attractions.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 3, 2020

Amazingly friendly people!!

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